Management is one of the greatest, and one of the most common, jobs in the world. Look to all aspects of life, and management behavior (good, bad and otherwise) is being demonstrated. The basic challenge is to increase the amount of “good management” (not an oxymoron, or contradiction in terms!) and to eradicate bad management.
Management should be a calling that should be received by a relatively few people because they have the personal characteristics necessary to be successful in this field; clearly, management is not for everyone. Sadly, management is not for many men and women that currently hold positions in management.
What is the difference between management and leadership? It is a question that has been asked more than once and also answered in different ways. Management and Leadership are distinctly different concepts and should never be confused; however, the best managers have always been (and will always be) good leaders. A person can be a competent manager without being a leader, but great management requires inspirational leadership. Management consists of controlling a group or a set of entities to accomplish goal. Leadership refers to an individual’s ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward organizational success. Influence and inspiration separate leaders from managers, not power and control.
Again! Why is it so difficult to find “good management” (or, why is it so easy to be seen as a bad manager?) First, many well-intentioned people working in management should never have accepted management positions. Second, there are relatively few good management models available to individual who wish to improve. Third, legitimate business pressure sometimes cause behavior that is not “good management”, and then bad habits are formed and reinforced over time. Finally, and a common theme to most of “bad management”: good management requires extra effort. In many ways, good management is not a natural behavior, at least in the sense that when people seek the path of least resistance, they will not find good management down that path.
What are the critical functions of management? Effective interpersonal communication is a critical function. Managers are the information pipeline of an organization. Good managers gather critical business information and effectively communicate corporate needs to their employees, and the needs of their employees to upper management. Communicate (listen and speak/write) clearly and often; make decisions based on personal and professional vision and values; build and maintain personal credibility as well as organizational integrity; lead and motivate (encourage and build-up those around you; serve your company and your people.
What can I do to be a better manager? Some people might concern. Pursue an empathetic viewpoint with everyone with whom you come into contact. The vast majority of your contacts will be with sincere, well-intentioned people; try very hard to see their side of the question and you will be more successful in presenting management’s decision.
“If you want to change my behavior, first show me how the proposed change will benefit me.”